Big Thanks to Gert at Opduvel for his careful listening and writing about the Live in Beppu CDr!
My favourite brief quote:
“It therefore requires open-mindedness about what music is, but for those who hold the opinion that sound is music, this is an interesting and very fascinating improvisation.”
The review is in Dutch here:
And a rough googletranslate here:
“Making music in public does most musicians from a stage or simply on the street. Record cases also have instores. The English trio consisting of Otto Willberg (bass), Sam Andreae (saxophone) and David Birchall (guitar) played on April 18, 2017 in the record store ReNTReC in the Japanese city of Beppu, the result of which is recorded on CD-R. It is not a usual instore, as the word ‘usual’ does not apply to any of the music produced by the trio.
The three musicians come from Manchester and are no strangers in the English free improvisation scene. The gentlemen are content to seek or exceed musical boundaries. Anyone who loves an experimental voyage of discovery will find plenty to his liking at Live in Beppu. Everyone else: be warned. This is music that is the prevailing laws of what music is and which merely shakes sound, defiance and strict beliefs.
Because it concerns three musicians who at the same time investigate the unconventional possibilities of their instrument. The three of us occupy a small space, the English go on musical exploration, without appointments, without soil and without a safety net. It is a game of finds and sounds that has no direction and does not tell a coherent story. Perhaps not even a story at all.
The free improvisation of the trio is not recorded in a studio and you notice that, because ambient sounds, such as the voices of children and passing trains, can be heard and are therefore part of the music. Coincidence is not an unimportant factor, just like humor, because playful situations arise consciously and unconsciously. Furthermore, there is no tension build-up, there are no melodic lines and no rhythmic patterns. It involves experimenting with sound, scanning, reacting, listening and anticipating. The word ‘easy’ is not in the vocabulary of the trio.
Anyone who has read this after reading the book and decides to listen, will wait for a wonderful and exceptional musical company that captivates through playfulness, research drive and simply being there. It therefore requires open-mindedness about what music is, but for those who hold the opinion that sound is music, this is an interesting and very fascinating improvisation.
With everything you can make music. A guitar string does not have to be on a guitar, you can also swing around with it. A saxophone is not necessarily a wind instrument. In the cup of a saxophone you can, for example, put a can, which can be fastened with elastic and then put back and forth between the can and the cup, so that percussive noises are produced. A bass can also be played by holding a basin against the strings and you can play that pelvis with a bow. This bow can also be clamped between the strings, after which you produce sound by moving the bow up and down. Also a guitar can be played with a bow and that does not necessarily have to be on the strings but can also be on the side of the instrument. You can knock out the cleaning cloth of the saxophone, and this also creates a sound.
They are ideas that most will not come up with, but this trio does and does implement those ideas. The result is playful, contrarian and percussive music, unhampered by any musical convention. The instruments sax, guitar and bass form the basis but rarely sound the usual way. This is not only fascinating to watch (see the video below), but also to listen to, even if the improvisation takes more than an hour. This is tasty food for the truly adventurous music lover.”
Berlin open air swimming pool related this group came out of the fresh idea of “THE SCHWIMBAD JAZZ POOL” an association that was going to include the 3 of us on this record and our pal Rogier Smal on drums. For one thing or another the day before we were going to make our first record in LEEDS in the summer of 2016 with Keeby at the controls at OUSE STUDIOS it became clear it would be a trio and the SJP idea faded but left still a group of musicians as interested in improvising together as they are in bathing. Also remaining was the nub of an idea from daft conversations with Roro over time that we should both appear nude on our next duo record.
Unaware of how amazing the Japanese ONSEN experience would turn out to be, things got heavy and amazing in Beppu which has over 100 bathhouses using naturally occurring volcanic spring water as the source, coming in at 43 degrees with varying mineral contents depending a little on which one you go to. Staying in an old school house with no bathroom it quickly made sense to go and visit the bathhouse in the morning, which was quickly followed by the realisation that it was possible to go to the onsen 2 or 3 times a day.
To make the photographs happen was really a nice and unusal thing; involving I think some delicate/brave discussion between our friend and colleague Ono (he also acted as the photographer) with an onsenmeister he knew well to allow us in after closing time and with a camera to take the shots.
Listening to trains overhead, my own breathing, fingers on the skin of a drum held and bendable; a talking drum type tensioned thing, children’s games in the passage way outside, paper thin walls, light passing through different opaque materials; granulated, holding really still in hot water, breathing, sniff sulphur, doing calculations on fall height of electrcial apartus and water, walls and doors creak and slide, the outside has come inside and the reverse but you only hear and can’t see because its opaque; only light filters in and sound; private space but completely permeated by sound, shoes off, a miniute rattle or bad connection somewhere in the jack plug of the jazzmaster, still not actually fixed it in fact, downtuned ping and pang, that flavour of stuff we don’t really have at home, clear sake, clean, listening to water bubbling, shaving in a steamy mirror, steam cooking in the mountains, trains overhead.